Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits locals in Dien Bien province (Photo: VNA)
Dien Bien (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested ensuring better life for people who were relocated to make way for the construction of the Son La hydropower plant, saying the task will spur socio-economic development in the northwestern region.

Speaking at a conference in Dien Bien province on October 1, the PM said the resettlement work has been carried out over the past 15 years and needs to continue in a sustainable manner to ensure the targeted households have a good spiritual, material, and cultural life.

The foreseeable task is to take care of the local livelihoods while education and training for youngsters will be the far future duty, he directed.

He requested the State Steering Committee for Son La Hydropower Project to pay more attention to implementing social infrastructure projects, developing rural areas, and supporting the operation of agricultural cooperatives, and industrial and farming encouragement centers.

The PM urged localities to build political and administrative systems in the resettled areas, strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance in the community, and implement effectively the State’s policy on sustainable poverty elimination.

He asked ministries and localities to remove any difficulties during the resettlement process and quicken the implementation of 35 projects to develop agricultural production and improve living conditions for the relocated people.

Son La hydropower plant constitutes one of the key national projects to supply electricity for the national socio-economic development, industrialisation and modernisation.

It is significant to prevent floods in the rainy season and provide water in the dry season for locals in the northwestern region.

To prepare for the building of the plant, as many as 20,340 households with 93,201 people in Son La, Dien Bien and Lai Chau provinces have to be removed.

The relocation and resettlement for those people have basically completed after 15 years. As a result, the plant is expected to be put into operation three years earlier than scheduled.

According to the State Steering Committee for Son La Hydropower Project, the per capita income of relocated people increased to over 1.2 million VND (54 USD) in 2015 from 311,000 VND (13.9 USD) in 2005. Meanwhile, the rate of poor households reduced to 17.11 percent in 2015 from 47.73 percent in 2005.-VNA